Friday, February 09, 2018

Evo-psycho bros: we're not racists, you're just paranoid

A page from The Pioneer Fund:Bankrolling the Professors of Hate

We saw John Paul Wright use Linda Gottfredson's term "sacred values" and we see the Winegard brothers use it in their paper A Social Science without Sacred Values.

Bo Winegard turned this paper into an article for alt-right Claire Lehmann's Quillette as I discussed earlier in this series.

Turns out Bo Winegard has already harped on the same theme in a paper with co-authors Cory J. Clark and Connor Hasty entitled Egalitarianism: a source of liberal bias. He links to his own paper, of course in the Quillette piece.

He also links to his paper with co-authors Ben Winegard and David C. Geary: Too paranoid to see progress: Social psychology is probably liberal, but it doesn't believe in progress

The Sacred Values paper presents the Winegard brothers strategy for neutralizing anybody who calls their work racist: by making egalitarianism a disease.

The paper explains;
Paranoid egalitarian meliorism (PEM), then, is egalitarian meliorism that is especially sensitive to equality threats, and paranoid egalitarian meliorists (PEMs) are people who exhibit such sensitivities. 
They then mention Arthur Jensen, who received money to study race by the white supremacist Pioneer Fund ($325,000 according to The Pioneer Fund: Bankrolling the Professors of Hate).
The first is that PEMs honestly believe that the researchers who propound such theories or data are morally reprehensible people. This might sound extreme--do scientists really believe that other scientists are bad people simply for espousing unpopular theories? --, but it is completely rational if our model is correct. Assume you adhere to the egalitarian meliorist narrative. You encounter Arthur Jensen’s argument that genetics probably play some role in the black-white intelligence gap. First, you would detect this as a threat to your sacred value (equality). Then, you would almost certainly attempt to refute Jensen’s argument in any way possible (confirmation bias). You might read reams of books and articles arguing against Jensen. After this, you would think that Jensen’s argument was painfully weak and, in fact, preposterous. You would then seek a reason Arthur Jensen would have published such a thinly supported theory that had potentially dangerous ramifications. One obvious reason is because Jensen was a morally corrupt human being.  
Naturally the Winegard brothers don't mention that some people might have an issue with Jensen being bankrolled by actual white supremacists, but the Pioneer Fund is the fight club of the evo-psycho bros, they will never talk about it. Because it's easier to paint critics of The Bell Curve as paranoid nuts if you don't mention the funding source for much of the Bell Curve's claims about black intellectual inferiority.

This isn't the first time Ben Winegard has attempted to suggest his opponents are suffering from a pathology. He also did it in a paper called The Awful Revolution: Is Neoliberalism a Public Health Risk? in which he literally uses the heading "The pathologies of Neoliberalism."

He quotes Aristotle in that paper: “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Aristotle also said "poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.

But the evo-psycho bros are so opposed to examining the influence of economics on human behavior they don't mention it, even to dismiss it.

I quoted earlier in this series from The Nurture Versus Biosocial Debate in Criminology: On the Origins of Criminal Behavior and Criminality edited by Kevin M. Beaver, J. C. Barnes and Brian Boutwell but it bears repeating:
... the egalitarian fiction provides liberal academics a script, or a narrative, from which they draw to interpret almost every racial disparity as the product of some form of racism. Differences between "races" in crime, for example, cannot occur because groups differ in their levels of conformity to the law, this narrative states, but because racism creates strain that results in crime (Jang & Johnson, 2003), or because laws are racially biased (Alexander, 2012), or because police racially profile (Rojek, Rosenfeld, & Decker, 2012).
According to Wright and Aldon, the only alternatives to innate genetic inferiority of blacks, which is their model,  are:
  • racism creates strain that results in crime
  • laws are racially biased
  • police racially profile
No mention of economics.

The refusal to seriously consider anything outside of genetics is what is wrong with evolutionary psychology. Did that happen because Winegard and friends are conservatives? I don't know, but I think I've demonstrated pretty well that their refusal to consider anything besides gross generalizations about genetics is why their science is so bad.

But the refusal to consider economic issues for this particular situation is especially bizarre. It's hard to believe such a choice is not a case of deliberate mischief considering that only six or so generations ago most black people in the United States prior to being set free were so poor they did not even own themselves.

But that doesn't necessarily mean evo-psycho bros like Bo Winegard are morally corrupt. He could be mind-bogglingly stupid instead.

In the next post I will review part of one of the videos that Kevin Beaver made with alt-right racist Stefan Molyneux. They agree that Head Start is a failure and a waste of money (speaking of Jensen) and Molyneux provides the exact term that racists use to remove economics from consideration.